Top 6 Sales Training Software

Sales training has evolved considerably over the years. 

In the 50s, you had sales coaching in the form of audio vinyl records and cassettes. 

The 70s was the period of video-based sales coaching. 

Then came the era of CRMs, which led to the downfall(almost) of sales training. Companies did not give due attention to sales training as they believed that CRM was the silver bullet to solve every sales problem, including relieving the pressure of all the salespeople in the company.

However, there was one thing that CRMs could never replace – human selling skills. When businesses found this, they realized the importance of sales training once again and started investing in sales training software. 

What is sales training software?

Sales training software enables sales managers and reps to analyze sales calls. It is mainly used to refine the reps’ techniques and improve conversion rates. The tool also helps establish a practice of continuous training by offering a rich repository of recorded sales calls. The goal of sales training software is to:

  • Reduce ramp time by finding key areas for improvement
  • Aligning the team’s efforts with your business goals.

But a simple sales training software was insufficient to train reps at scale. Companies yearned for something more intelligent and advanced that was based on real customer calls. They no longer wanted a tool that could only record conversations and offer access to call data. 

Long story short, the sales enablement leaders needed a training software that could offer:

“Necessary coaching intelligence based on real customer calls to offer personalized training to the reps.”

In other words, they needed a conversation-intelligence-based sales training software!

How is regular sales training software different from a conversation-intelligence-based one?

A conversation-intelligence-based training tool uses the actual performance of a salesperson in the context of real sales. It distinguishes itself from a typical training software by automatically analyzing and extracting patterns across your customer calls and highlighting the techniques of winning sales reps for other reps to learn. These tools are turning the whole sales training ecosystem upside down and creating a significant impact on the reps’ performance, something historical user-guided training could never achieve.

Some of the key features of a conversation-intelligence-based sales training software include customized scorecards, playlists of calls and snippets, performance dashboards, and shareable comments and moments. 

Top Sales Training Software

Here are some of the top platforms in the world of sales training with a focus on conversation intelligence.

#1 Rafiki

Rafiki

Rafiki is the #1 sales training software on our list that enables managers to ramp up their rep training process by offering direct visibility into the sales behaviors of the team. It helps in designing relevant and personalized training programs by allowing you to see successful and the not so successful conversation patterns.

It not only delivers valuable insights at scale but also empowers reps with exactly what they need and when they need to increase sales effectiveness and close more deals. Thanks to its powerful AI capabilities, Rafiki can transcribe interactions and identify coachable moments and opportunities for upselling, cross-selling, etc.

Key Features of Rafiki that help in sales training

  • Meeting comparison – This feature offers a deep comparison of key trackers (ex: Competitor Mention) between two meetings. It shows the topic patterns followed by successful reps as against the struggling ones so that you can build a deal-winning topic sequence. Shows what topics were discussed when during a sales call that makes a tangible difference in closing a deal
  • Snippets & Playlists- This lets you create call snippets in just a few clicks, that too from transcript blocks or video timelines. You can even share curated playlists of your meetings with your team to improve per-rep win rates.
  • Customizable scorecards – It lets you track a variety of call metrics, evaluate the reps based on them, and generate a detailed scorecard for improved decision-making. The scorecards can be customized based on your precise needs and processes. 
  • Conversation Metrics Graphs This feature lets you track the rep’s talk patterns and the impact of the topic/tracker on deals won/lost. You can even perform comparisons based on different parameters like reps, duration, time frame, etc. 
  • Comments With @Mentions – It lets you appreciate, acknowledge, and highlight elements of calls that went well or didn’t go well. You can even send private comments to individual reps. 
  • Contextual follow-ups – This enables you to send follow-up emails to prospects after a demo or a sales call and highlight key moments in the meetings. You can also share collaterals or engage in a live chat to answer any further questions. Rafiki also shares a secured meeting link along with the email and tracks it to alert you when the link is opened.

How much does Rafiki cost?

Rafiki pricing

Check out the complete list of features here.

#2 Gong

Gong

The next software on our list is Gong, which has carved a name for itself as the preferred choice for many large organizations. The platform offers a rich feature set that helps in comparing reps’ performance against each other and industry benchmarks. It is quite adept at highlighting the areas of improvement for each individual member of your team. Like every other tool in this list, Gong is fueled by a robust AI engine that analyzes sales calls and gives you and your team inputs, such as which topics result in better responses, how to handle objections, etc. 

Key Features of Gong that help in sales training

  • Coaching Activity – This feature generates a guided workflow that lets you replicate what works and what doesn’t by transforming data into coachable moments. It generates all the key states you need to back up your coaching strategy.
  • Role-specific learning – Reduces ramp time and the effort it takes for new reps to close deals. The feature lets you create an ecosystem of peer-to-peer learning where reps can learn from each other. Managers, on the other hand, will be able to ensure that all the crucial skills gaps in their team are closed. 
  • Quality of conversations – This feature maximizes the efficiency of your training plan by gauging the quality of conversations and topics discussed. This way, you can coach your team on different ways to help customers achieve their goals.

How much does Gong cost?

Contact the Gong team for pricing details.

#3 Avoma

Avoma

With Avoma, sales managers no longer have to guess how their team is performing or where training may be needed. The data gleaned from Avoma will laser-focus your coaching plan. It will also ensure that every rep in your team is utilizing the most effective sales approach. Avoma effectively transcribes and analyzes every rep’s customer interactions and highlights successes and opportunities for improvement. It also offers powerful insights on exactly where to coach for the highest impact.

Key Features of Avoma that help in sales training

  • Topic Trends & Talk Pattern Insights – Enables sales managers to learn the talk patterns of top reps and coach other reps accordingly. It helps managers analyze trends based on competitor mentions, objections, and feature requests to carefully design a data-driven and personalized training plan. 
  • Curated Playlists – You can save some of the best moments of your top reps and store them into curated playlists. The moments could be related to anything from objection handling to negotiation. The other reps can listen to these playlists anytime, anywhere.
  • Recording Snippets – Avoma lets you create video snippets from calls instantly and share them with your reps so that they will know how they performed immediately after the call.

How much does Avoma cost?

Avoma pricing

#4 Wingman

Wingman

Wingman is also backed by AI technology that not only serves as a sales enablement tool but also as excellent sales training software. With Wingman, managers can instantly identify what top sales performers are doing differently. They can then use it to create an effective sales training strategy. It is the ideal choice if you wish to reduce the ramp-up time of training and replicate successful sales behaviors across the sales team. The platform enhances the productivity of your reps, builds better customer relationships, and improves overall sales communication. 

Key Features of Wingman that help in sales training

  • Battle Cards – This feature ensures that your training is highly personalized for every rep. You no longer have to force your reps to spend hours shadowing. 
  • Game Tapes – It comprises videos of winning sales tactics adopted by the high performers in your organization. This feature accelerates onboarding and promotes peer learning among your reps.
  • Call Summary – Gives you the summaries of every sales conversation, including the questions asked, the next steps, and even pain points. This gives you 360-degree visibility into your reps’ performance and identify if they are asking the right questions and engaging the prospects the right way. 

How much does Wingman cost?

Wingman pricing

#5 Execvision

Execvision

ExecVision helps improve the sales performance of the reps and boost revenue through data-driven training.​​ It claims to be the bridge between insights and performance, as it offers an array of valuable insights from customer conversations and helps improve reps’ decision-making skills. The platform records, transcribes, and analyzes calls at scale. It even identifies untapped opportunities and key areas where coaching is needed for the reps. You can plan tailored 1-on-1 sales training and accurately track individual rep performance metrics.

Key features of Execvision that help in sales training

  • Customizable Scorecards –  You can create fully personalized scorecards that align with your training plans and milestones. The platform assesses different conversations and scores them using different scoring formats for different functions. 
  • Self Review – With this feature, your reps can receive feedback and notes about a specific conversation. The reps can also highlight the section where they want help from the managers. 
  • Coaching effectiveness – With this feature, Execvision delivers full-circle insights about your reps’ training activity. Managers will know what is happening and how it is impacting the reps’ performances with the help of dynamic performance dashboards. Managers can drill down into coaching effectiveness and close the insights-to-performance gap.

How much does Execvision cost?

Contact the Execvision team for pricing details.

#6 Chorus

Chorus
Chorus

Chorus is another coaching platform that blends sales coaching, sales training, and conversation intelligence to help businesses forge a culture of sales excellence. With this platform, you can instantly boost revenue by increasing the reps’ knowledge of the most effective sales behaviors.

Chorus equips managers with data-driven sales coaching and automated workflows. This empowers the managers to tailor the learning paths for different reps based on their profile, performance, and needs. 

Key Training Features of Chorus

  • Scorecards – Through this feature, you can offer actionable advice to your reps after rating their performance through the inbuilt scorecards. The tool automatically recommends high-scoring calls so that reps can learn from them.
  • Playlists – It lets you create a library of your best calls for new team members to learn from others. Apart from improving the onboarding experience, Chorus automatically adds new calls to the playlists if they meet the criteria you set. 
  • Coaching Initiatives – You can set up and tailor Chorus’ coaching initiatives to cater to your specific sales process and coaching needs. The unlimited number of questions or assessment areas that you can target ensures that you can build a training program for every rep in your organization.

How much does Chorus cost?

Contact the Chorus team for pricing details.

Bottomline

Conversation intelligence has completely transformed the sales training process by offering deep call insights to improve onboarding, productivity, and performance of sales reps. Regular sales training software will not get you the buy-in you’re looking for. as it doesn’t offer complete visibility into what’s happening with your team. It eliminates the chances of designing a personalized training strategy for all your reps. 

On the other hand, using conversation intelligence software like Rafiki gives you access to actionable insights that allow for self-diagnosis, self-coaching, faster onboarding, and skill development. 

A sales training software like Gong or Chorus might be justified for Fortune 500 companies. But most of the training features offered by these tools are overkill for small and medium-sized businesses. Rafiki not only offers all the features offered by these tools (plus some unique features of its own) but offers them at a fraction of their cost. 

Sales Quotas – Definition, Types, and Significance

Behind every successful organization, there is an efficient sales team. 

The efficiency of a sales team is driven by how motivated the individual reps are. 

Now the easiest way to motivate a sales team is by offering them earned commissions. When these commissions are tied to a quota, your sales team’s motivation is closely aligned to the business.

In this post, let us understand what a sales quota is, its definition, key objectives, types, and significance.

What is a sales quota? 

A sales quota is a quantitative goal set by sales managers to measure salespeople’s performance, which, in turn, will help determine their compensation. Sales quota can also be set for an entire team, a territory, and a department. It is also set for a particular period, such as a month, quarter, or year. A smart sales manager ensures that the sales quota is set in such a way that it does not seem too high (making it unachievable) or too low (making the reps complacent). 

What are the objectives of a sales quota? 

Here are the key objectives of a sales quota – 

  • To stimulate sales effort and improve revenue for the organization.
  • To determine a sales rep’s compensation and bonus and ensure that the entire process is done transparently.
  • To ensure that the salesperson or the sales team adheres to the agreed-upon business metrics.
  • To gather vital information as to where the organization is currently in relation to its goals.
  • To identify the strengths and weaknesses of sales teams.
  • To ensure that the team’s performance is in sync with the market.

What are the different types of quotas? 

#1 Revenue Quota

This is probably the most basic type of sales quota and also the most common one followed by businesses. In this, the sales reps or the teams must sell to generate a certain amount of revenue within a specific time frame. It is usually set for a month or a quarter. 

Example: Decan is a sales representative who has been set a monthly target of $20,000. His average sale is usually $4,000. So he needs to sell to at least 5 customers to meet his monthly sales quota.

When to use this quota: 

  • Revenue growth is your primary goal.
  • You have a clear buyer persona.
  • Your reps already have an optimal activity performance.

#2 Activity Quota

This type of sales quota revolves around sales-oriented tasks that the reps must do in a particular time frame. For instance, it can be making a set number of phone calls in a month or sending a fixed number of emails in a quarter. This type of quota has objectives ranging from client acquisition to booking meetings. It is usually set for junior SDRs and reps in their early stages of sales careers, where activities are highly correlated to their success.

Example: Adele is a sales representative who has been set a monthly target of 300 calls. So she has to make at least 10 calls per day, regardless of how many sales she makes.

When to use this quota:

  • When you want to drive reps’ contribution to your organization’s growth, regardless of the outcome.
  • When you want to coach inexperienced or struggling reps without punishing them monetarily. 

#3 Volume Quota

This type of sales quota focuses on the number of products sold instead of the revenue or dollar value of the sale. This quota can be further split into product categories, business units, location, etc. 

Example: Mark is a sales representative who has been set a quarterly selling volume of 25 cars. The showroom has cars ranging from $20,000 to $50,000. Mark has the liberty to sell any of these cars without worrying about the revenue or margin. 

When to use this quota:

  • When you are vying for market penetration.
  • When you want to maximize value from sales.

#4 Profit Quota

This is almost similar to the revenue quota. The main difference is – the ‘revenue’ is replaced with profit as a criterion. This quota requires the sales reps to generate a certain amount of profit for the company by selling products (or services) at a certain price or selling only those with a high margin. This type of quota is ideal if your business has multiple price points for the same product or has multiple products with varying price points.

Example: David is a sales representative who has been asked to sell goods worth $5000. Apart from the revenue quota, he has also been set a profit quota that encourages him to sell only high-margin goods.

When to use this quota:

  • When you have a high customer-acquisition cost.
  • When you want to see how each sale is realistically contributing towards your business growth 

#5 Forecast Quota

This type of quota is set based on predictions made from past results. While setting this type of quota, the manager must not only know past revenue details but must be able to decipher the different influences on those revenues, such as where they came from (channel) and how they affected the sales, etc. This type of quota is usually assigned to a team, business unit, or territory. 

Example: Organization ABC clocked a revenue of $50,000 in Q4 last year. They want to boost their revenues by 10% this quarter. So the team has been asked to generate $55,000 this quarter.

When to use this quota:

  • When you have a lot of sales data to deploy effectively
  • When you are stepping into a new domain
  • When you are launching a new product.

#6 Combination Quota

As the name suggests, a combination sales quota is a combination of multiple sales quotas. This type of sales quota offers reps several small, achievable milestones along with a sales roadmap for long-term success. This not only makes it easy to attain the sales quota but also aids in developing the reps’ diverse talents.

Example: Andrew, a sales representative, has been asked to make at least 200 calls in the upcoming month and sell at least 10 products.

When to use this quota:

  • When you want to develop the diverse talents of your reps.
  • When you are not sure about which sales quota will work best for your team. 

Tracking of sales quotas

Most organizations make the mistake of setting up a sales quota and completely forgetting about it later. Sales managers must realize that it is also their responsibility to track the sales quota consistently and find ways to improve the processes and remove any bottlenecks if present. 

Managers must also constantly communicate how close or far the reps are from attaining their individual sales quota. Your reps must have utmost clarity and accurate information all the time to know their progress in quota attainment. 

If they are way ahead of the expected quota, reward them with a bonus. This will encourage them to put in even more effort. If they are falling behind, train them or give them the necessary assistance to catch up with the rest. 

One of the most common metrics that help in tracking sales quota is Quota Attainment. Its formula is given by – 

Quota Attainment = Actual Sales/ Target Sales

This metric gives you insights into the best-performing reps and how attainable the quotas are. For instance, if you have multiple reps or teams with low quota attainment, then it means you have set unrealistic goals. Similarly, if the value is quite high for many sales reps, it means your goals are very easy to attain.

How does Rafiki help with quota attainment? 

The biggest enemy of quota attainment is unseen risk signals. Popular risk signals include a lack of decision-makers in the deal, low email or call velocity, no feedback, lack of discussion about the pricing, and competitor mentions. These are all indicators of likely lost deals. When you get a clear view of these signals, you can take appropriate actions, which, in turn, can help produce a well-oiled sales machine.  

A tool like Gong or Chorus can identify these deal risks and can use them in deal forecasting and quota quantification. However, these tools cost hundreds of dollars per month and way beyond the budget of most small and medium-sized businesses. 
Enter Rafiki, the AI-powered sales intelligence tool that has been carefully designed (and of course priced) for all SMBs out there. Not only Rafiki costs ways less, but also offers all the key features provided by the above pricey tools plus some customized features required to boost your quota attainment.

Click here to sign up for a free trial.

Best AI Meeting Assistants – 2022

Artificial intelligence has taken the world by storm. You can find it everywhere, right from the smartphone you use to the car you drive. But if there is one area where its application has been profound, it has to be business meetings. AI meeting assistants have made the lives of all those attending a meeting simpler and way better.

AI meeting assistant is a software technology powered by artificial intelligence that’s crafted to help you manage meetings more efficiently. It achieves this by automating most of the tasks involved in a meeting. 

In this post, let’s look at the top 5 AI meeting assistant that you should consider in 2022.

Top 5 AI Meeting Assistants

Here is a brief summary of the top 5 AI smart meeting assistants – 

  1. Rafiki
  2. Avoma
  3. Otter
  4. Fireflies
  5. Sonix.ai
AI Meeting AssistantRecord MeetingTranscriptionNote takingPost meeting follow-upMeeting Comparison Chrome ExtensionFree TrialStarting plan
RafikiYesYesYesYesYesYesYes$0
AvomaYesYesYesNoNoNoYes$0
OtterYesYesYesNoNoYesYes$0
FirefliesYesYesYesNoNoYesYes$0
SonixNoYesNoNoNoNoYes$10 /hour
AI Meeting Assistant Comparison Table

#1 Rafiki

Rafiki is much more than an AI assistant for meetings. It is a conversational intelligence tool that records your meetings, transcribes them, and captures key topics and moments of them. It can even generate notes by topic to get you started. Rafiki is an asset to sales managers because it helps their teams manage their calls and deals on their own. For example, Rafiki lets the SDRs review their call metrics on their own, compare them with their teammates, and identify where they are going wrong and how to correct them.

Key Features

  • Call notes: Thanks to this feature, your team can focus on talking to the client instead of jotting down every word. This helps them behave more naturally during a call.
  • Snippets: Rafiki can help create snippets from your call. This means you no longer have to listen to the entire call. In other words, you can be well-informed about the call without wasting a lot of time.
  • Post-demo follow-up: A one-of-a-kind feature where the tool automatically re-engages your prospects effectively after a demo or a meeting. It does this through video-embedded contextual follow-ups
  • Meeting Comparison: Lets you compare topic tracks of 2 meetings based on different parameters like time, team, reps, etc., that can help build a great topic sequence.

Check out the complete list of features here.

Pros of Rafiki

  • There is a free trial plan which doesn’t require any credit card.
  • There is a Chrome extension. 
  • Clear and transparent pricing.
  • Has a slick user interface.
  • One of the few tools to offer deal intelligence, market intelligence, and coaching intelligence.
  • The only tool in this list to offer white glove support.

Cons of Rafiki

There are no major cons as such. Though some users might get overwhelmed by the sheer number of advanced features that Rafiki offers. However, even this has been addressed by offering a huge repository of how-to guides and tutorial videos.

Pricing

Rafiki Pricing
Check out the full pricing details here.

#2 Avoma

Avoma is a meeting assistant AI tool that helps in capturing important customer information before, during, and after meetings. It is also widely considered to be a collaboration platform for Sales, Implementation, and Customer Success teams. Avoma can be used to record meetings, transcribe, and summarize notes. It can also come up with actionable insights that can be synced directly to CRM.

Key Features

  • Automatic listening, recording, and transcription: this allows you to capture all the key points so that you can identify problems and solve them.
  • Reporting capabilities: enable you to see how your team is performing against specific objectives and compare it over time
  • Analytics: give you a deeper understanding of customer behavior so that you can make better decisions about future marketing initiatives.

Pros of Avoma

  • You can review calls and meetings by searching within transcripts.
  • The tool comes with a robust reporting and analytics engine.
  • The learning curve is not steep.

Cons of Avoma

  • Avoma doesn’t have important real-time evaluation features such as call moments and in-depth listening.
  • Avoma doesn’t have a call filtering feature which makes it challenging to segregate calls based on critical metrics and parameters.
  • There is no Chrome extension.

Pricing

AI Meeting Assistant Pricing

#3 Otter

Otter AI is another AI virtual assistant meetings tool that was built primarily for meeting transcription. Over the years, it has evolved into a full-fledged meeting assistant that converts your conversations in Google Meet, Zoom, and other tools into intelligent notes that you can easily share with others. Otter also comes with a host of collaborative features such as real-time annotations and conversation summaries.

Key Features

  • Note-taking: Otter also has the capability to take notes and transcribe from existing recordings and podcasts.
  • Image Capture: Otter can capture images during a particular. You can then insert these images into your transcript for better context.
  • Meeting Slide: All it takes is a single click to add a meeting slide into any of your notes captured automatically by Otter.

Pros of Otter

  • The tool has a high level of accuracy and can perfectly interpret multiple sounds and speakers while recording.
  • Has an easy-to-use export feature that can effortlessly transform your podcast or video into a blog.
  • Comes with a Chrome extension

Cons of Otter

  • No multi-language support
  • Is a pure transcription software. Doesn’t offer revenue intelligence or conversation intelligence.
  • Doesn’t have an open API.

Pricing

AI Meeting Assistant Pricing

#4 Fireflies

Fireflies is an AI voice assistant that uses the power of Machine learning to capture sales teams’ meetings and transcribe them. It even automatically fills all the data gaps in your company’s CRM. Fireflies is particularly known for its smart suggestions, such as the possible tasks your team must do based on a meeting’s direction. It even highlights the actionable items and next steps for the reps.

Key Features

  • Plug and Play Integrations: It can be integrated with some of the top calling tools such as Skype, Google Meet, BlueJeans, and Zoom. It is also perfectly compatible with CRMs like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho.
  • Sound Bites: This feature lets you transform important sections of your calls into shareable snippets that are accessible in your dashboard.
  • Smart Search: You can not only search for target keywords but also elements like metrics, data, time, action items, or even sentiments.

Pros of Fireflies

  • It can transcribe uploaded audio files 
  • Very easy to collaborate with people within your organization and outside
  • Offers excellent search capabilities within notes.

Cons of Fireflies

  • Doesn’t offer a summary of the meetings.
  • Doesn’t offer you the intelligence to make the most out of your meetings.
  • Not suitable for use cases outside of transcription and recording.

Pricing

AI Meeting Assistant Pricing

#5 Sonix.ai

Sonix is an audio and video transcription tool that can convert your meeting recordings into textual content. The brand claims its ability to transcribe 30 minutes of audio or video in less than 5 minutes, making it one of the fastest transcription tools currently available. The best part about Sonix is its multi-user capability that lets users share and invite other team members to work on the same transcript.

Key Features

  • Timestamps: The tool automatically timestamps every word in your transcription text. All you have to do is just click on a word to play the audio from that particular moment.
  • Speaker identification: Sonix can automatically detect speakers in a meeting and separate exchanges to different paragraphs based on that.
  • Comments: You can easily add your notes to the transcript, letting others see what you think of a particular part of the transcript.

Pros of Sonix

  • Supports more than 30 languages.
  • Can be seamlessly integrated with many productivity tools like Zapier, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.
  • Comes with a free plan that lets you explore the tool to your heart’s content before committing to it.

Cons of Sonix

  • It’s purely a transcription tool.  It doesn’t offer deal intelligence or revenue intelligence around your meetings.
  • There is no Chrome extension.
  • The learning curve is a little steep due to the cluttered UI and plenty of features.

Pricing

AI Meeting Assistant Pricing

Conclusion

AI Meeting assistants can help you effortlessly organize, manage, and track meetings. There are so many AI meeting assistants which have not found a spot on this list. That doesn’t mean they are in any way less effective than the ones in this list. The more important thing for you to focus on is selecting the right tool. The rule is simple – the meeting assistant you pick should be a reflection of your use case, fit your budget, and offer all the features that you want. Considering all these factors, Rafiki seems to have an edge over all the other tools thanks to its robust set of features at a great price point.

Interested in Rafiki? Sign up for a free trial now.

California Call Recording Laws: An Overview

In this article, we break down the California Call Recording Laws and what it means for salespeople like you.

Call recording is not something new to sales folks. Many of you might have recorded calls in the past because that’s the only way to keep track of everything your customers or prospects said. 

Now, even though there are no laws that define call recording as legal or illegal in most parts of the world, some countries(or states) have specific laws related to it. These laws particularly focus on the ‘consent’ and ‘purpose’ of call recordings. A state with stringent call recording laws is California. 

According to the California Call Recording Law –

“It is illegal to record calls without the consent of the parties participating in the call.”

When it comes to consent, there are 2 types of consent.

Single Party Consent vs. Two Party Consent

The stringency of California’s call recording laws can be best understood if you know what single-party consent and two-party consent mean. 

Single-party consent means that any one of the participants in the call should be aware that the call is being recorded. Around 38 states in the United States follow single-party consent. If you are a caller from any of these 38 states, it is not mandatory that you need to inform the other person on the call that the call is being recorded.

In a two-party consent state, that law states that all parties involved in the call should give their consent for recording. For example, California call recording laws.

Call recording laws vs. GDPR

Many people confuse California’s call recording laws with GDPR. This is quite understandable because both involve data. But the relationship starts and ends with the storage of data. Let us explain.

Call recording is simply a process of recording calls and storing all the call-related information. GDPR, on the other hand, focuses on protecting any form of data from any channel. GDPR’s goal is to set guidelines for getting consent and storing data in a way that does not tamper with the individual’s privacy.

There is another major difference between the two. Whenever you dial a business number, you might hear the automated message – “this call is being recorded for quality and training purposes.” Now, in case you stay on the line even after listening to the message, it means you have implied your consent for recording. Implied consent is allowed in most call recording laws.

On the other hand, GDPR does not allow any provision for implied consent. Businesses must obtain consent explicitly from the customer before storing any information. It usually involves asking the customer to press a button to approve the recording and another one to disapprove.

Also, GDPR allows customers to access recorded calls and the data stored by the company. If any customer asks for their data, the company is liable to submit it within 30 days, whereas no such rule is there in the call recording laws.

Purpose of Recording Calls

Now that we have seen everything about ‘Consent’, let’s move on to the other component of Recording Laws – ‘Purpose’. Here are top legitimate purposes for recording calls when it comes to sales – 

To identify problem areas

While talking to a customer, you might not be aware of where you went wrong that led to their dissatisfaction. The recording might help identify problem areas in that call and help you rectify them while talking to the same customer in the future.

Valuable records for tracking

Recorded calls are an extremely valuable source of information that can be fed into your company’s CRM. This information can then be used for tracking and follow-up activities that will eventually lead to the closing of the deal.

Evidence for disputes

Disputes in sales calls are quite common. During disputes, call recordings can come in handy as they act as solid evidence, thereby preventing the escalation of the dispute even further. 

Training purposes

Call recordings are also used as training material for new reps in the company. The recording can teach them how to approach a customer, convince them, and sell the product or service.

Tips to follow while recording calls

Your sales call recordings are useful only if they are clear and understandable. To ensure that, follow the below tips – 

Inform straightaway

Always start your conversations by saying that the call is being recorded. And don’t forget to cite the purpose of recording the call. It will help the other party be better aware of their speech.

Listen

It is not wise to let the recording do all the work for you. It’s always better to listen to what the customer has to say and ask all your questions right away. You are recording the conversation mainly to gather valuable information from it. Unless it covers everything you need to know, there is no point in recording the calls.

Do not mumble

A common mistake that many make is mumbling. This makes it very difficult to listen to and understand the conversation later. Hence makes sure that all the parties on the call are speaking clearly without any noise.

Have control over your tone

Do not be over-anxious or lethargic during the call. Both of them can have a devastating effect on the call outcome. But more importantly, they can make your call recording seem unclear and uninteresting. 

Call recording with Rafiki

Rafiki is a conversational intelligence software that lets you focus on calls while it records, transcribes, and captures key moments from it. Our customers use Rafiki for a variety of purposes, including training newly-hired members, identifying strengths and drawbacks of employees, search and scanning specific information in the call to name a few. All of Rafiki’s customers use Rafiki’s state-of-the-art insights from their customer conversations to build sales playbooks that win, compare meetings, understand conversation patterns, and even follow up with prospects post their meetings. Rafiki helps salespeople close more deals faster with confidence.

Rafiki complies with California Call Recording laws by providing users with various features and options to make sure that everyone in the call is aware that the call is being recorded. Within Rafiki’s dashboard, you can also control which of your meetings get recorded so you have full control over the data you want Rafiki to analyze. Moreover, Rafiki is also SOC2 compliant ensuring that all data within Rafiki is tightly secured.

10 Best Sales Books That Help New B2B Sales Reps Win More

It’s never easy to teach sales. The sheer complexity of the field and the tightly intertwined processes make it a daunting task to share knowledge. Thankfully, there are many pearls of wisdom scattered here and there, left by many successful salespeople across the globe. And all those tiny bits of knowledge have been compiled in the form of several best-selling books on sales. 

In this post, let’s look at 10 best sales books that will help reps win more. 

10 Best Sales Books for B2B Sales Reps to Win More!

#1 Way of the Wolf – Jordan Belfort

Authored by Jordan Belfort, the Way of Wolf is rightly considered the ‘Bible of Sales’. In this book, the author has covered the art of persuasion and the steps to convince prospects to purchase from you. He has talked about a very important aspect of selling – how to strike an effective conversation with your prospects. 

Key Takeaways from the book:

  • A perfect sale is only made when it is presented neatly to the customers. It is important to pitch your product subtly yet powerfully. 
  • A sale can be made only when the rep has an emotional connect with the prospect. 
  • The way you communicate with the prospects dictates how the prospects perceive you. And it’s not limited to the first 5 seconds but to the entire conversation.

Favorite quote from the book:

“You do not want to try to resolve their pain at this point. In fact, if anything, you want to amplify that pain.” 

Fun fact: This book was immortalized by the popular movie “Wolf of the Wall Street” starring Leanardo Decaprio.

#2 Sell or be sold – Grant Cardone

A must-read for all sales folks, this book is a warehouse of sales tricks and is one of the best sales books. The author has highlighted the importance of being careful and proactive when it comes to selling a product or service. The author himself is a notable sales trainer, and this book is a summary of all his personal experiences. 

Key Takeaways:

  • You must be 100% sold on your product. When you yourself are not convinced about the value of the product, you cannot convince others. 
  • Price is never a concern for your buyers. Similarly, a dull economy can never be a reason for a failed sale. 
  • There is no shortcut to becoming a successful sales rep. You have to sell and learn from each sale.

Favorite quote from the book 

The amount of success is limited by the amount of action you take” 

#3 Spin Selling – Neil Rackham

Most salespeople might already know about SPIN selling. However, not many know that this methodology was derived from the book ‘SPIN Selling’ by Neil Rackham. He introduced the concept of SPIN selling in the form of a series of questions that need to be asked to a prospect before moving on with a sale. The book is a compilation of case studies, success stories, and experimental observations from over 35,000 sales calls.

Key Takeaways:

  • The best way to stop objections from coming up in the first place is by asking implication questions. How is their pain point making them lose time, money, effort, etc.
  • Questions are a much more effective tool than pressure in the world of sales.
  • While talking to prospects, keep repeating the main benefits of your product and then suggest the next logical step for them to take.

Favorite quote from the book :

“The building of perceived value is probably the single most important selling skill in larger sales.” 

#4 To Sell is Human – Daniel Pink

In this book, Daniel Pink points out that everyone born in this world is a salesperson, either directly or indirectly. We are constantly selling ourselves and our ideas daily, both at work and at home. The author talks about the ABC of sales viz. Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity. He also takes us through the various strategies of selling, how the field has evolved over the years, and what it takes to become a successful seller, all with the help of illustrations, real-life incidents, and facts. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Sales is not about inducing pressure in the minds of the prospects but making their lives better.
  • Successful salespeople are good listeners. They always try to understand the buyer’s perspective before selling.
  • Sales is always about catching tiny little signals during your conversations with the prospects. Particularly, pay attention to why prospects are saying ‘No’, so that you can handle the objections better.

Favorite quote from the book :

“To sell well is to convince someone else to part with resources—not to deprive that person, but to leave him better off in the end.”

#5 Fanatical Prospecting – Jeb Blount

This book by Jeb Blount primarily focuses on the art of prospecting. He says that reps must be aggressive and relentless in their efforts to become successful B2B sales experts. According to Blount, finding good prospects is more important than being an expert in closing deals. Because having good prospects automatically gets your work done. 

Key Takeaways:

  • An empty sales pipeline is the biggest reason for reps to not succeed in sales An empty sales pipeline is the result of the reps’ inability to prospect consistently.
  • There are three laws that every salesperson must follow –
    • Prospects are available everywhere.
    • Every ‘No’ takes you closer to a ‘Yes’
    • Continue marching towards the goal until it is reached.

Favorite quote from the book :

“There is no easy button in sales. Prospecting is hard, emotionally draining work, and it is the price you have to pay to earn a high income.” 

#6 The Challenger Sale – Matthew Dixon & Brent Adamson

In this book, the author defines a Challenger as someone who is able to identify the customer’s problem and offer their product as the best solution tactfully. Like SPIN, the Challenger sales methodology is one of the oldest methodologies still in existence. It is used as a tool to achieve greater conversions by taking control of the sales process.

Key Takeaways:

  • Probe the customer with questions to find out more information about themselves, their business, and their pain points and to get them to think that there is no better alternative than your product. 
  • Challengers are made, not born. It’s the skills they gain over the years that matter.
  • Building a Challenger sales force is a long journey. You cannot build such a competent workforce in a day.

Favorite quote from the book:

“After all, there’s usually little stopping your competition from discounting their way to a win. In that game, loyalty is essentially irrelevant, as customers aren’t looking for a partner, they’re looking for a bargain.” 

#7 How I raised myself from failure to success in selling – Frank Bettger

The author, Frank Bettger, takes us through the numerous failures he has come across during his lifetime as a salesperson. According to this book, a common salesperson tends to give up after a few tries and move on. But a successful one never gives up and always tries to get to the top even after failing many times. Resilience, patience, and hard work are some of the key characteristics of such a salesperson.

Key Takeaways:

  • Focus on making your . 
  • Know A-Z about your business and stay abreast with all the latest happenings. This will give you the confidence to win over the prospects.
  • Listen with keen ears to the pain points of the prospects. And always try to take the focus away from you during a sales conversation. It’s always them.

Favorite quote from the book:

“Failures mean nothing at all if success comes eventually. And that’s a thought that should cheer you up and help you keep on keeping on when the going seems hard. Keep going! Each week, each month, you are improving. One day soon, you will find a way to do the thing that today looks impossible.” 

#8 The Ultimate Sales Machine – Chet Holmes

In this book, the author explains that to be a successful B2B salesperson, one must have 4 characteristics imbibed in them – prospecting, presenting, closing, and service. These four characteristics help a salesperson find the right prospect, pitch their product in the most presentable manner, and close the deal. He has filled the book with tips, tricks, and strategies that are useful for both newbie salespeople and experienced ones.

Key Takeaways:

  • Continuously train your sales staff. This is the best way to make them a sales machine.
  • A sales machine never sells just the product. They sell the brand and the history of the store.
  • Try to reach the decision-maker as early as possible. It is particularly important in large companies where you will be going on a wild goose chase otherwise.

Favorite quote from the book:

“Use market data, not product data. Set the buying criteria in your favor. Find the “smoking gun,” the one thing that undeniably positions you over everyone else. Make sure you hit their pain points. Include your own pitch for your product or service only after you have covered the education thoroughly.” 

#9 Never Split the Difference – Chris Voss

Negotiating is one of the key skills of a salesperson, and this entire book revolves around it. It has been a guidebook for many salespeople in recent years. According to it, the key to becoming a successful negotiator is to empathize with the prospect, get a hold of their perspective and find a common ground to negotiate.

Key Takeaways:

  • In every negotiation scenario, there are at least two groups. The easiest way to reach a positive climax is by understanding what each party wants from the other.
  • Your prospects want to be understood. They want you to make the effort to understand what can help them currently to succeed in their business. 
  • Always find questions or topics that the prospect will be happy to answer. It’s the best path to understand their point of view and what they think about their pain points.

Favorite quote from the book:

“He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of negotiation.”

#10 The Greatest Salesman in the World – OG Mandino

OG Mandino’s book “The Greatest Salesman in the World” is fictitious yet an eye-opener for many salespeople. The book follows the story of a young guy Hamid who grew up in a small village in the Middle East and later moved to the United States and made a living by selling paper products. The story captures the entire life story of Hamid, including how he had an idea, how he started selling, how he failed and learnt from his mistakes, and how he eventually became the ‘the greatest salesman in the world’.

Key Takeaways:

  • In any selling process, you must follow time-tested principles. Follow those principles and make them into habits. 
  • Be persistent. No matter how many times you fail, it is important to look at each failure as a stepping stone to success and an opportunity to learn something new.
  • It’s impossible to absorb all the feelings of customers during conversations. Humans are complex creatures. You, as a salesperson, have to transform yourself into a positive source of empathy and hear them out. This way, you can convert them into customers.

Favorite quote from the book:

“Wealth, my son, should never be your goal in life. Your words are eloquent but they are mere words. True wealth is of the heart, not of the purse.” 

Wrapping Up

And those are the best sales books every B2B sales rep must read to overcome obstacles and become successful in their career. All these books educate, enlighten, and leave you with a lot more knowledge about selling than you will have before reading them. Many of these books can even become your mentors, as you can keep revisiting them whenever you encounter an issue in your sales career.

If you are a sales manager or a leader, you can also use sales coaching software to improve the knowledge of your reps and make them better at selling. Rafiki is currently the #1 sales coaching software in 2022. It offers advanced solutions that can help new B2B reps win more.

How to promote cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment?

Any company’s success solely relies on how its employees come together, keep together, and work together. Take any successful project in your organization. You will find that there is one common thread linking all of them – cross-functional collaboration.

In this post, we’re going to dive deep and understand everything about cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment and the right tool to help you with it.

What is cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment?

When collaboration happens between employees working from the office and those working from home across all departments, you have cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment.

Zoom call during hybrid work.
Zoom call in a hybrid environment

Here are some common examples of cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment

  • The sales team (working from home) and the development team (working at the office) are discussing the ETA of a custom feature that one of the prospects requested.
  • The development team (working from the office) and the testing team (working from a coworking space) are collaborating to eliminate all the bugs in the application.
  • The sales team (sitting at the customer’s place) is interacting with the customer success team (working from home) about the possibilities of an upsell.

Factors that get in the way of cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment

1. Poor selection of tools

Poor selection of tools can often result in information losses, communication gaps, and interpersonal conflicts, all of which can push the teams away from achieving their common goal. 

For instance, imagine a call taking place between the sales team in the US and the development team. The former is explaining the latter about the newest requirement of a client in the application. Now, without a proper tool, most of the important information can be lost, especially if the development hasn’t taken any notes(to focus on the call) or recorded the call.

However, when you use a tool like Rafiki, all your calls are automatically recorded and transcribed, letting your teams focus on the call. 

2. Lack of transparency

In a hybrid environment, everyone is an avatar on screen – a severe lack of personal touch. Most people do not know whether to trust colleagues from their contemporary team with all the information related to a project or not. As a result of this fear, teams start putting their tasks that impact the common company goal at the bottom of their day’s pile.

3. Improperly aligned common goals

Many teams not only make the mistake of setting misaligned goals but also fail to define the roles and responsibilities of individual team members working towards them. The result is chaos as nobody knows what they are working for, how to work, and why it is vital to achieving that goal in the first place.

4. Linguistic and Cultural Barriers

Many companies have started hiring beyond their borders, thanks to the hybrid working model. However, this comes at a cost. Though most speak English, it does not necessarily mean that everyone can follow along. Factors such as accents, local references, or cultural differences can make everyday communication difficult. ,. 

How to promote cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment?

Cross-functional collaboration during hybrid work
Cross-functional collaboration during hybrid work

1. Pick the right tools

The most fundamental step is selecting the right tools for your arsenal. Since your teams are at different places in a hybrid environment, the tools you pick will be the primary way they collaborate instead of face-to-face interactions. Gartner has found that there has been a 44% increase in employees’ use of collaboration tools in recent times. 

The tools you choose should facilitate both seamless communication and track and record the conversations for later references. It should be able to record, transcribe, and capture key moments of every discussion and share them with all the stakeholders.

Rafiki checks all the above boxes and can be a valuable addition to your team to promote cross-functional collaboration. Sign up for a free 14-day trial now. 

2. Set the ground rules

Setting ground rules in a hybrid environment is critical because the chances of conflicts are high. Here are some simple ground rules you can establish – 

  • Be clear on the expectations from everyone towards achieving the common goal. 
  • Highlight what each member needs to do so that no one feels overburdened. 
  • Give your team a clear sense of how everyone is expected to behave during a meeting. Adopting the right virtual meeting etiquette instills a sense of professionalism and confidence in employees.
  • Give them the liberty to speak their point of view, even if it means disagreeing with someone. After all, the cross-functional collaboration aims to find better solutions by bringing diverse people together. 
  • Bring transparency to how financial decisions are taken and ensure all stakeholders are on board.

3. Create KPIs to measure collaboration success

Cross-functional collaboration tends to create the illusion of no accountability in a hybrid environment. The best way to avoid this is by setting up Key Performance Indicators that are measurable in a remote environment. Use these KPIs to track the progress of different teams in attaining the common goal. More importantly, you must reward individuals or teams for high performance.

4. Arrange discussions in the right frequency and duration

Having too many discussions(or too long) in the name of cross-functional collaboration doesn’t leave enough time for your teams to work toward the common goal. 

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set up discussions. On the contrary, you must set up regular discussions between your teams as they are an essential part of cross-functional collaboration. 

But you must ensure that these meetings do not last more than 10 minutes. Longer meetings can be reserved exclusively for discussing important updates, planning new goals, or celebrating milestones.

Drawbacks of not having cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment

When you do not encourage cross-functional collaboration in your organization, you can experience the following drawbacks – 

1. Waste of employees’ time

When your cross-functional teams are not collaborating effectively, it can impact your bottom line. For instance, imagine an employee from the sales team is searching for an important document for hours when it could have been instantly provided by the customer success team. Such situations are bound to crop up if you haven’t promoted cross-functional collaboration in your organization.

2. Loss of talent

Companies across the world are promoting their adoption of a hybrid environment to attract talent. And cross-functional collaboration is an essential part of a hybrid environment. When an organization doesn’t promote cross-functional collaboration, it is considered ‘old school’. Candidates will refrain from joining such an organization. Even employees will move out of such organizations, resulting in a human capital crisis. A study shows that around 99.1% want to be part of an organization that encourages communication.

3. Less Engaged Employees

When there is no cross-functional collaboration in your organization, you will experience decreased productivity due to less engaged employees. Without cross-functional collaboration, your teams will feel less connected with one another, which can cause an environment of mistrust in your organization. A study shows that companies that promoted collaboration were 5 times more likely to be high performing.

4. Reduces creativity

Cross-functional collaboration breeds creativity as it encourages ideas to flow from all sides of the organization. When there is no collaboration, creativity automatically goes down. Lack of collaboration narrows everyone’s perspective and reduces their problem-solving skills.

How does Rafiki promote cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment?

Rafiki is a conversation intelligence tool that tracks every conversation in cross-functional collaboration and provides valuable insights from it. Here are the different ways in which Rafiki can promote cross-functional collaboration in a hybrid environment 

  • Rafiki automatically records, transcribes, and analyses all your meetings.
  • With Rafiki, you can create snippets of key meeting moments, add them to a playlist and share them with your colleagues.   
  • Rafiki’s Call Notes and Moments, ensure your teams can focus on the discussion instead of jotting down every word. This helps them stay present in the meeting and contribute instead of focussing on mundane note-taking tasks. The best part? Rafiki automatically sorts the meeting notes by topic and syncs the notes directly to your CRM.
  • Time-stamped comments, scorecards for each call, conversation metrics such as talk-listen ratio, question rate, interactivity, and a whole host of other features ensure that your team is completely in sync. 

Conclusion

Cross-functional collaboration is that binding agent which brings different teams together in your organization and gets them to rally for a common cause. It fosters creativity, productivity, and trust among your employees, thus ensuring organizational success. As you have seen in this post, picking the right tool is the key to promoting cross-functional collaboration. 

A tool like Rafiki can be an asset for your organization. It can not only track every communication but also offer tips and insights that can help improve future communication and get your teams closer to that final goal. Explore the power of Rafiki on your own by signing up for a free 14-day trial.

5 must-read books for startup founders in 2022

Startups evolve rapidly. New founders are left with no choice but to adapt quickly.

And one major consequence of this – many strategies related to startups fail to stand the test of time.

But there are some exceptions.

Certain time-tested pearls of wisdom related to startups are still available today in the form of books.

To borrow a popular quote – “It’s no secret that to learn more, one has to read more.”

Yes, the best place to kickstart your learning about the startup ecosystem is ‘books.’ This collection of thoughts is a treasure trove of knowledge that teaches you everything and anything from managing time to managing your employees.

We also understand that as a startup founder, you will not have the luxury to search for books, read reviews, and zero in on these books.

So to cut you some slack, we have come up with 5 must-read books for every startup founder out there to have a successful run in the startup world.

#1 Zero to One

This book offers a deep glimpse of how startup ventures are meant to be. Authored by Peter Thiel, the co-founder of Paypal and an early investor in Facebook, this book is full of challenging ideas backed by solid justifications that are apt for various startup scenarios.  

While this book is ideal for those building tech startups, there are a bunch of brilliant ideas that could contribute to your growth as a startup founder, irrespective of the domain.

Going From Zero To One According To Peter Thiel

# 2 The lean startup

Authored by Eric Ries and a bestseller on Amazon, this book not only showcases how to operate your startup but also how to use minimal resources to do it. Most startups do not have adequate capital to fund their ventures in the initial days. This is where the Lean Startup comes in handy. 

This book is replete with ideas such as favoring experimentation over planning, customer feedback over assumptions, and iterative design over the traditional waterfall model. Many of the ideas proposed by this book, such as Minimum Viable Product and prioritizing customer feedback, have already made a mark in most modern startups. 

Eric Ries talks about his book at Google

#3 Blue Ocean strategy

This book is perfect for three kinds of startup founders –

  • The ones who love to adopt a customer-centric approach
  • Those who want to avoid competition when they set afoot in the startup world. 
  • Those who are already established but need to distinguish themselves from their rival brands

Yes, you guessed it right, basically this book is for every startup founder out there. This book encourages startup founders to stay out of the red ocean of competition by tapping into uncontested market spaces. This involves creating and capturing new demands, redefining market boundaries, etc.

The crux of the blue ocean strategy is value and innovation. This is not just about technology innovation or being the first to enter the market in a new category. Instead, it is all about redefining the problem, crossing market boundaries, and serving exceptional value to the buyers.

Blue Ocean Strategy

#4 Hooked

Questions like these race through our minds more often than not – 

  • How do some products capture widespread attention, while others fail?
  • What makes us like some products and not others?
  • Why do certain technologies hook us? 

The book Hooked has all the answers for you. Authored by Nir Ayal, this book is the end product of years of research, consulting, practical knowledge, and experience of the author. The book is for marketers, designers, product managers, and mainly startup founders who are keen to understand how products influence human behavior.

#5 Start with why

This book revolves around a simple but powerful quote – “People do not buy what you do, they buy why you do.” When you know why you do something, you have a sense of belonging, and customers resonate with that. This is a very important lesson for all newbie startup founders out there. The book tells you to communicate why, then follow it with how, and finally reveal what you actually do. 

Starting with Why

Winding up…

The above-suggested books can greatly contribute to your startup growth. As a founder, your job is to pick valuable lessons from these books and apply them to your startup. 

Initially, all of your strategies come from customer feedback. As founders, you have to be on the ground with your customers helping them all the way through.  These details are critical to your business, but what if a tool records and helps you turn those insights into actions that have a significant business impact – that too with minimal intervention. That’s Rafiki for you.

Rafiki gives deep data about all conversations in the organization
Rafiki gives you deep, granular insights into all your conversations.

Rafiki records, transcribes, and analyses all your customer-facing meetings. The conversation intelligence platform creates automatic notes and allows your team to create meeting video snippets that they can use both internally and externally for following up on action items. Apart from creating a treasure trove of knowledge for your business, Rafiki also ensures that your meetings convert to closed deals by helping you deliver a seamless buying experience for your customers.

From automatically creating meeting notes to helping you develop a deal-winning strategy, Rafiki is the only tool that ensures all your customer conversations convert to closed deals. Want to know more? Book a free consultation with our product experts now.

P.S: Unlike other conversation intelligence solutions, Rafiki has no user minimums. It even has a metered pricing option, and special prices for startups.

10 Must-Have SaaS tools for startups in 2022

Let me begin this post with an encouraging fact for all SaaS startup enthusiasts – The industry is growing at a staggering rate of 18% year on year.
The growth of SaaS startups in the last decade is nothing short of a fairy tale. The top contributors to this meteoric rise were a customer-centric approach, a strong partner network, and product-led growth.

Then came the pandemic that brought a transformational opportunity for various SaaS startups to extend boundaries beyond their traditional audiences. This opportunity catalyzed the growth even more! 

However, such unprecedented growth comes with its own set of challenges. For starters, the competition is stiff among SaaS startups, making it an uphill climb for new ones to capitalize on the overall industry growth.

The only way for such new SaaS startups to rise above their competition is to improve their productivity and efficiency. And what better way to improve it than using various tools available in the market. This post recommends the top-10 tools a SaaS startup must own today for increased productivity.

1. No-code website builders such as Webflow

Your website acts as a conversion engine that either encourages or discourages a purchase from your company. There is massive pressure on your shoulders to build a professional website for your business. However, it is not easy without the help of some professional web development, which can be out of budget for most early-stage SaaS startups.

Using Webflow, you can transform your whole web development process and make it seamless. The best part? Your website can be managed by your sales team or design team without any prior coding knowledge, giving you better productivity. 

Webflow home page

2. Tracking tools such as HotJar or PageSense

Tracking tools help you get valuable information about your visitors. These tools track key metrics related to user behavior on your site. The insights generated can help you understand user needs better and offer them a personalized experience. Gone are the days when you shot arrows in the dark, gave visitors a one-size-fits-all solution, and expected them to buy your product without questions. Today, you need the help of tracking tools such as HotJar or PageSense to offer users exactly what they want, exactly where they look for it and turn them into loyal customers.

Hotjar home page
Zoho PageSense home page

3. Video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Google Meet

Video conferencing platforms helped businesses to get going or stay operational despite hurdles like pandemics in the past. Today it has become a core component of everyday communication for most startups. Modern-day video conferencing tools like Zoom offer several features, including app and screen sharing facilities for running meetings seamlessly from the comfort of our homes. From whiteboard notes to meeting recordings, you can store, retrieve or analyze any Zoom meeting without hassles. 

Zoom home page
Google meet home page

4. Productivity Suites such as G-Suite or Zoho One

Imagine how good it will be if you have a single application that lets you create, communicate, and share information. A productivity suite like G-suite or Zoho One does it for you. Now named Google Workspace, it comprises robust apps like Gmail, Drive, Meet, Calendar, and Docs that meet various purposes and let you manage your everyday workflow. 

Zoho One home page
Google Workspace home page

5. Social Media tools such as Hootsuite

When you are a brand new SaaS business, leads and customers are hard to attract even if your product is good. Cold outreach can take time and is not super-reliable. Hence, the easiest way to deepen your relationships with your stakeholders or prospects is by using social media. Branding tools such as Hootsuite help your business build a deeply engaging social media presence.

From social listening on platforms to engaging in AI-powered social e-commerce, you can do them all with such tools. Hootsuite has a scalable platform and strong industry partnerships. It can uncover deep insights about your target audience and get you one step closer to converting them.

Hootsuite home page

6. CRM such as HubSpot, Zoho, or Freshsales

A CRM is a bridge between your business and the customers. It can be difficult for your sales team to juggle multiple tools for connecting with the customers. But having a robust CRM like HubSpot, Zoho, or Freshsales can help build meaningful conversations with your customers through contextual engagement before demos, after which tools such as Rafiki take over. You can drive leads to close and manage different pipelines seamlessly via a CRM and conversation intelligence integration. Choosing tools that support this integration is critical as it would be the gold mine of information for your startup to understand gaps across product, pitch, and customer expectations.

HubSpot CRM home page
Zoho CRM home page
Freshsales home page

7. Omnichannel engagement tools like Intercom

A survey states that about 88% of customers expect an online self-service portal from a business. Support articles such as FAQs, product manuals, and chat assistance are table stakes and not a luxury anymore. To prepare a support article base, aka knowledge base articles, you can use tools such as Intercom. Apart from enabling the curation and publication of help articles, Intercom also doubles up as an omnichannel customer engagement platform. Chats, emails, Help articles, in-product banners, and product tours are some of its features. Intercom even offers exclusive pricing plans for startups to help you get started.

Intercom home page

8. Time management tools like Hubstaff

If you are looking to eliminate inefficiencies and incorporate streamlined time management for your projects, then Hubstaff is the tool. Hubstaff helps manage time for each project by identifying roadblocks, managing invoices, creating detailed reports, and much more. It integrates with 30+ popular software, including Github, Asana, Trello, and Paypal, making your work-life simple.

Hubstaff home page

9. Collaboration tools like Slack

Collaborating with teams and with clients has to be quick, seamless, and reliable for a business to run in good health. Tools like Slack allows you to automate routine actions and communications so that your team can focus on their primary objectives without any problems. Slack comes with an array of features that lets you share and manage files, create polls, set reminders, etc.

Slack home page

10. Conversation intelligence tools such as Gong or Rafiki

In a startup, most of the core team’s time gets spent on redundant tasks such as recording customer interactions, taking notes, analyzing them for product insights, feeding the information to CRM, and so on. 

What if this time gets spent on pitching to leads and closing deals and not on manual tasks like note-taking that can easily be automated? That is precisely what Rafiki or Gong helps you do. While Gong focuses on enterprise customers, Rafiki is more suited for SMBs.

Gong home page

Rafiki is a conversation intelligence platform that integrates with your CRM (Not just Salesforce or HubSpot), Google calendar, GMeet, and Zoom, to name a few. It records and transcribes your meetings, captures key topics and moments from your meeting conversations, and even generates automatic notes sorted by topics to get you started.

Rafiki home page

While traditional conversation intelligence solutions stop with analyzing meetings, Rafik is the only solution that allows you to contextually follow up with your prospects and ensure your deals close. 

High-growth teams at Hippo-Video, Businessfirst.io, and NoBroker trust Rafiki’s insights for their sales productivity. No minimum license mandates, one-click integration with SMB-focused CRMs such as Zoho, Freshsales, Pipedrive, and affordable pricing make Rafiki the default choice for SaaS startups.

Built for SMBs, Rafiki is highly affordable, easy to use, set up, and offers a free trial with all the features of an enterprise-grade tool for a fraction of the cost. It even has exclusive follow-up and tracking features that help increase the prospect engagement rate post-demos that no other platform offers. 

Winding-up

The above list of tools will help you become more efficient and help you materialize your startup vision on the ground. If you are a SaaS startup starting anew or have a limited budget, then G-Suite, Webflow, A CRM, Rafiki, and Zoom should be a part of your tool stack to navigate the initial days. The remaining tools can follow once you have customers and some revenue.

Sales 101 for SMBs – Getting the 7 Step sales process right the first time – Part 3

So far, we have seen the five steps in a typical sales process. Our first blog captured the initial steps that a quintessential sales representative has to go through to lay the foundation of his/her sales process, viz. prospecting, preparation and approach. This was followed by another post on subsequent steps that they have to take while actually interacting with the prospects – presentation and handling objections. 

Now, this post is all about the closure, i.e., what happens during the actual purchase and what happens after that. Read on…

Closing

Though it comes at the end, it is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of the multi-step sales process. In this stage, you carefully assess your client’s interest to invest in your service or product. You also have to understand their propensity to purchase by evaluating the client’s budget, requirements, and ability to utilize your service or product correctly to give them positive results. 

Once you have done that, it’s time to make your finishing move. This is when you ask your client their decision on how they would like to move forward doing business with you. If all’s well, they will sign the contract with you. 

Now, when it comes to closing, there are three major techniques that you can embrace. Here are they – 

Alternative Close Choice

This is probably the most popular one and is used by most businesses. In this,  you give the client a perception that everyone is okay with your terms and is happy to close the deal. You can do so by creating an impression that the sale is almost complete and then offering the prospect two options, both of which should lead to a sale.

For Example: Would you like to pay the whole fee upfront or do you like to do that in installments? 

Extra Inducement Close

This is something that a lot of salespeople have in the buffer; if the prospect looks promising and seems like a great long-term partner, then this technique would be ideal for you. In this technique, the salesperson offers the prospect something extra for free – this could be offering the product or service free for 2-3 months or a substantial discount for the same period.

Standing room only close

Create a FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) effect in the minds of the prospects. You can do so by letting them know that you only have a few more spots left this month at a special price.

Follow Up

If you are on this step, then congratulations are in order as you have successfully closed a deal. This is indeed a great achievement, but your job as a sales rep doesn’t end here. You need to regularly follow up with the customer. This will lead to –

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Ability to acquire new prospects by word of mouth
  • Customer retention 

Send a thank-you note, and be in constant touch with the customer even if it seems like they are never going to leave you. Ask them if the product is helpful for them and it is meeting their needs. Also, find out if they need any help related to the product. 

You can also send them informative content like blogs, newsletters, and new additions regarding product updates and services. This will keep the customer informed and connected with your business.

Pro tip: Create a feedback loop for the customers where they share their experience about using your product. Conduct email surveys once a month with an array of open-ended questions to understand their sentiment about your product. 

Bonus Step: Track the sales process

Your sales process has to be constantly tracked. You need to ensure that it doesn’t deviate from the intended path. The chances are pretty high for it to go wayward as everything is dynamic in the world of sales. This is where sales leaders should take control of the narrative. They should identify a pattern of key competitor mentions, deal risks, common objections, etc., and use this knowledge to fine-tune the sales process. 

In other words, you need to embrace deal analytics and sales intelligence. Our Sales expert webinar’s recording tells you how to achieve that. It will also coach your sales reps to close more deals, letting you scale up your SMB in no time.

Do not miss this chance to learn from our experts and learn everything about the sales process. Wanted to attend future sessions? Follow our Linkedin for instant updates about our upcoming sessions.

Sales 101 for SMBs – Getting the 7 Step sales process right the first time – Part 2

In our last post, we had seen what a sales process is, how it is the lifeblood of any business, and took a glimpse of the first three stages of a sales process, viz. prospecting, preparation and approach. We will now move on to the next two stages in this post.

Presentation

Here is where the actual salesperson comes into play. The document prepared in the ‘preparation’ stage will come in handy here while you present your product or service to the prospects. 

First, ensure that your pitch deck is optimized and personalized to your prospect’s needs. It is important that you focus on the benefits and features of your product, and present them as solutions to your prospect’s pain points in this deck. Alternatively, you can give a detailed demonstration of your product highlighting why your product or service is the best fit for your prospect. Once you have given all the required information to the prospect through your presentation, the prospect would be thinking about the cross offers and comparing yours with others. 

At this point, your research about your competition will come in handy. You need to point out your offering’s unique selling points (USPs), how your offering is better than your competitors (without degrading them) and how it perfectly fits the prospect’s needs.

If you have made the presentation conversational and asked the right questions until this point, you will have a good idea about what other features the client would benefit from. This will help you decide when to offer them enhanced services (called upselling) for an additional fee. But remember – never sell prospects something they don’t need; this would make them lose trust in you.

Here are some handy tips for you while presenting your product to the prospect – 

  • Keep the presentation short, engaging, and value-focused.
  • Speak a language that the prospects understand. Do not use technical jargon and complicated phrases while talking to them.
  • Focus only on the significant features. Do not talk about points that do not apply to the prospects.
  • End the presentation properly. Summarize all the points and decide upon the next steps.

Handling Objections

Once your presentation is complete (or even in between), it is quite natural for the prospect to have some objections or hesitation. When they do that, you should give all your ears to their points. As a salesperson, you should see these objections as opportunities to understand your prospect much better.

The first thing you should do is acknowledge the concern the prospect has made. Then offer solutions to tackle that concern in a meaningful way. Try to ask multiple questions to understand their views and then address them one by one. 

Pro-Tip: Be ready with some subsequent questions or effective responses to some common customer objections. It will help you face them confidently. Here are four types of objections and some of the questions you might encounter under each of those headers –

Lack of Budget

“We don’t have the budget right now.”

“Your product doesn’t fit our budget.”

Lack of Trust

“We’re not aware of your company.”

Lack of Need

“I don’t think this will suit us.”

Lack of Urgency

“Your product is not on our priority list right now.”

Conclusion

The sales process is highly dynamic and must be consistently reviewed, tweaked, and revamped to meet customer expectations. This will help you offer an exceptional experience to them. The above two sales process stages are highly crucial to your organization’s success and need to be perfected over time.

For more such tips and information on the sales process (and everything else), you can watch our Sales Expert Webinar where an expert from the industry addresses problems of scaling sales.